A Home Schooler Applies to College

A Home Schooler Applies to College

By Tasha

Is there anything that I, as a home school student, can do to help make me stand out in a crowd? It's so stressful trying to apply to college when you're home schooled and your 'teacher' (aka your parent) doesn't always keep up with grading you regularly and you have to nag them to do it. Also I don't have a grade point average, so I don't know if I'm dumb, smart, or semi-smart. My mom says I'm smart, but she's my mom! I think I'm semi-smart, but it's really stressful looking at all the zillion colleges and trying to figure out if I make the grade. Because I don't get grades! Any advice???

Oh, and by the way, y'all are hilarious and real life savers!


Thanks for the kind words—I am glad to hear you are finding the column to be helpful as you prepare your college applications.

Many home schooled students wonder how they can stand out to college admissions committees. Because they don't have the same opportunities available in a high school setting, they assume they can’t get involved or achieve the same level of success as other students. This is not true. Sure, it may take more initiative on your part, but it can be done.

As a home schooled student, you want to make sure you do well on standardized tests. I would say this is even more important for you than for traditional high school students. By doing well on these tests, you'll even out the playing field and demonstrate that you are ready for college-level work. High test scores make an academically impressive transcript look even stronger (and speaking of your transcript, keep nagging your mom about grading you! It's important). Also, if I were you, I would take a few SAT subject tests and/or Advanced Placement tests, in subjects of your choosing. Performing well on these tests will go really far with an admissions committee. After all, it’s one thing for your parents to say you’re smart—it’s another thing to score high on standardized tests and prove you’re smart!

You want to make sure your classes are rigorous and your academic strengths speak for themselves. I would also encourage you to get involved in your community. Find a way to help out and pursue your passions.

With some effort, you can make yourself stand out and be just as strong an applicant as students from traditional high schools. Being home schooled can present some unique challenges, but they don’t have to be disadvantages.

For more advice on how to make your application stand out, check out Princeton University's tips for home schooled students, and this interesting blog post from MIT’s website.

Best wishes,


Sparklers, do you have any tips for home schooled applicants?

To contact Tasha, email advice@sparknotes.com.

Topics: home school, college admissions

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